Berwick A&J Scott Bandits 53
Edinburgh Scotwaste Monarchs 39
LAWRENCE HEPPELL reports from Shielfield Park
The Bandits played host to the 2010 Premier League champions Edinburgh in an amazing match that got the new season off to a nervy, delayed start on a balmy Saturday night.
Going flat-out into bend one, Monarch’s skipper Matthew Wethers clipped Kevin Wolbert’s rear wheel and shot straight into, and through, the fence – face first.
Thankfully his injuries, to his two wrists and forearms, proved not as serious as first feared, but with Wethers excluded from the re-run, Wolbert went on to win the opener in style to share the race 3-3.
The deadlock continued, Andrew Tully not helping the visitors’ cause in heat three when his engine failed with the score at 9-9, but the scores were broken in the fourth with Lee Complin jetting round Kalle Katajisto on the fourth bend on lap one and Jade Mudgway doing likewise one lap later to form the Bandits’ maximum 5-1 (14-10).
A stunning heat eight saw Craig Cook on double points after a tactical ride, but he failed to get his bike started under the two-minute rule, going off on a 15m penalty. With Complin well ahead, Cook began his charge, roaring right up behind Tamas Sike, but the young Hungarian rode an astonishing four laps to cling on to a superb second place and nullify the tactical double.
Kozza Smith got the stadium on its feet when he took his first race win of the night in heat nine, but celebrated in a way that only Smith can. He parked by the starting gate, hurdled the fence into the crowd in the main grandstand and ran the full length of the home straight, high-fiving the front row of thrilled punters.
With the score now at 34-14, a sixth Bandit 5-1 came in heat 10, and the visitors began to put the foot down, taking the next two heats 1-5, 3-5, to pull it back to 44-30 with three races left.
With Gjedde and Complin taking three points from heat 13, however, the match was finally secured as a Berwick victory in a unique speedway meeting.